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Dress

  • Date:

    1973

  • Artist/Maker:

    Bermans & Nathans Ltd (Costumier)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silk, beads, chiffon

  • Museum number:

    S.475-1984

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Anna Neagle, one of the great British film stars of the 1930s and 1940s, was 69 when she starred in the revival of the 1920s musical No, No Nanette in 1973. She had made her last film in the late 1950s, but returned to the stage in 1965 after her husband, film director Herbert Wilcox, was declared bankrupt. Neagle revived her husband's fortunes by playing in the musical Charlie Girl, which ran for over six years as well as touring Australia and New Zealand. Two years later she appeared in a revival of the musical comedy No, No Nanette, which she had filmed thirty years earlier. Still in good shape, for a woman of 69, her legs and figure were a tribute to her early training as a dancer, and this dress, designed by Raoul Pebe de Bois and made by the costumiers Nathans, was created to show off her legs by enhancing yet concealing them with the shimmering long bead fringing. The dress was reserved for the finale, where it would make most impact.

Physical description

1920s drop waisted short skirted off white silk sleeveless dress, overlaid with a nylon chiffon, bodice, heavily beaded in lozenge pattern with clear and grey bugle beads. The skirt is hanging fringe of crystal, clear and grey beads (the chiffon underskirt is missing). The long sleeves are attached on upper shoulder, are of off white nylon chiffon and finish at the wrists in cuffs attached to upper edge only, heavily beaded to match dress. The neck is beaded in clear bugle beads.

Date

1973

Artist/maker

Bermans & Nathans Ltd (Costumier)

Materials and Techniques

Silk, beads, chiffon

Object history note

Costume for Sue Smith in the ?finale worn by Anna Neagle of 'No, No Nanette', the 'new 1925 musical' at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane on 15th May 1973. The book for the musical was written by Otto Harbach & Frank Mandel, the music was composed by Vincent Youmans, and the lyrics were by Irving Caesar & Otto Harbach. The show was directed by Burt Shevelove, and the choreography was by Donald Sadler. The production was designed by Raoul Pebe de Bois, and the costumes were made by Bermans and Nathans Ltd.

The costume was purchased at Christie’s on 5th December 1984, Lot 123 for £280.

Descriptive line

Drop waisted short skirted off white silk sleeveless dress decorated with bugle beads worn by Anna Neagle as Sue Smith in the musical 'No, No, Nanette', Drury Lane, 1973

Production Note

Reason For Production: Commission

Materials

Silk (textile); Nylon chiffon; Bugle beads; Beads; Chiffon

Techniques

Machine stitching; Beading

Production Type

Unique

Collection

Theatre and Performance Collection

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